Councilor Bode: Stimulus money to Lynden totals to $20 million to be spent 

LYNDEN ­— Sales tax revenue kept surging to the city, $232,000 worth last month, the largest March number ever by quite a bit, Finance Committee chair Kyle Strengholt reported at a relative short Lynden City Council meeting Monday.

Through three months the flow is almost $85,000 ahead of last year and 25% above what is budgeted, added fellow Finance member Jerry Kuiken.

While he is thankful for it, this is apparently the “new normal,” at least for Lynden, now in the era of online buying and with sales tax being product destination-based rather than origin-based, Strengholt said. About two-thirds of sales are from a point outside of Lynden but bringing product to Lynden, a close study of the numbers shows.

Councilor Gary Bode noted that the payment of $1,400 per individual in federal stimulus money has injected more than $20 million into Lynden, and “people don’t just sit on that money.”

It has brought a wave of spending that may be temporary or one-time, but is reality now, and it fuels shortages of goods and rising prices, Bode said.

Citing furniture and building products, at least, “prices are going up weekly and monthly, astronomically,” Bode said.

The council continues meeting virtually via Microsoft Teams for most participants.

In other action:

  •    A contract with Whacom Law Group PS for the services of Rajeev Majumdar as Lynden’s first land use hearing examiner was approved. 

He will receive a flat reimbursement of $1,800 for each appeal hearing, $1,400 for each hearing that does not involve an appeal, and $200 per hour for matters the city requests but fall outside the specific scope of the contract. is term is through 2024.

  •    The council decided to reject one bid, higher than was expected, for rehabilitating and waterproofing the underground utilidor at the city wastewater treatment plant.

The project would deal with groundwater intrusion and leakage into the structure. But this will be held off to 2022.

  •    In reporting on parks issues, since security cameras were recently installed at points in Bender Fields, “the unruly use has left,” Mayor Scott Korthuis said.